A number of wine issues have been in my thoughts the last couple of weeks without anything being strong enough to warrant a blog post on its own. So, why not compile them?
There have been a number of discussions on Twitter and other social media about wine judging. This is probably connected with publication of Decanter’s annual wine awards but there has been much debate about the merit of such awards and judging in general. As so often it was Andrew Jefford who kicked things off with an article in the aforementioned Decanter with some valid points. As so often I agree with some of what he says, not with everything.
Other professional judges and experts then got heated at criticism on social media about whether their marks were really worth that much. I have written before that I no longer take any notice of wine awards, medals and competitions. My own experience of judging was certainly a contributory factor in putting me off, I left unconvinced by the results from the panels I took part in and even the basis on which medals were awarded. I also tend to think that many judges have certain expectations of wines and mark according to what they think is expected rather than on the actual wines in their glass, for example based on region. Judging blind, i.e. without knowing what the label says, should help to overcome this but I remain unconvinced. I know that when I have tried some wines awarded top medals I have been disappointed far too often to place much faith in the system.
I do respect the opinions of some judges and experts whose taste I know does align more with mine than most but, medals, that don’t impress me much as Shania Twain would sing if she was a wine drinker.
I will soon be heading back to the Languedoc and to Jeff’s so my other main thoughts have been about what has been going on there. He has sent me a number of reports of the poor weather in the region this year, a lot of rain and cooler weather. Sadly it wasn’t difficult to predict what would happen when the weather warmed up, mildew. I have written about this before but warm, damp conditions encourage this disease. Jeff sent me a photo of Grenache in Sainte Suzanne being affected by mildew. What alarmed him was that normally it would affect stem, leaf or bud. This time it hit them all together. Unfortunately, Jeff reports that much of the Grenache has been spoiled. This problem is widespread in the region and even made the newspapers.
Another side effect has been that such weather conditions encourage snails and apparently they have been active in the Carignan and in Peilhan vineyard. Happily Font D’Oulette (Flower Power) which has suffered from snails eating the buds in the past has been spared this year and looks very good in these photos of Jeff.
I hope that is the end of the problems for the year and look forward to reuniting with events in Puimisson and updating you.
June 15, 2018 at 8:09 am
Hi Alan. Apparently Domaine Ribiera has lost half their Grenache to mildew.
However, things need to be put into perspective. Another dry winter/spring would have been much worse.
On a more selfish not, grape picking is going to be a nightmare with all the vegetation in the vines.
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June 15, 2018 at 8:32 am
Grenache does seem especially vulnerable. The mower has been out since the photos were taken.
June 18, 2018 at 11:13 am
I agree Alan, wine tasting is very personal, I don’t care much about the medals as long as I enjoy drinking a wine I’ll buy it again!
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